Notes from academia IV: what should we do?

So what should we do?  Should conservatives and Christians in academia keep keeping our heads down so that some are in positions of influence when–if–the current mania passes?  Should we be speaking out, and damn the consequences?  Is it time to throw in the towel, to give up on academia and look for new lines of work?

I don’t think there are simple answers.  Yes, universities are hostile to conservatives, but so are all the professions and government jobs (even, increasingly, the military).  Fields are falling to Leftist totalitarianism so quickly, it’s hard to know what career one could plan on entering–by the time you could switch to it, it might be just as bad as academia, law, journalism, entertainment, software development, etc. The only advice I can give to young and middle-aged conservatives is to make sure you’re prepared to seek work in multiple fields.  Go ahead and work in a university if it’s the kind of thing you like, but be sure that you’ve got some skills that make you employable elsewhere to lower the stakes if the loyalty oath comes.  This is probably easier for grad students, postdocs, and professors in “STEM” fields, but it’s if anything even more urgent for those in the humanities and social “sciences”.

As for “speaking out”, remember what I said before:

…remember that what we need are not martyrs but survivors. Someone who speaks out and is fired is an example, a demonstration to all watching that the Leftist consensus is absolute. Someone who speaks out and is not fired but continues working as usual and interacting with co-workers has demonstrated that the Left does not totally own the workspace, which is indeed a major victory for us…

https://orthosphere.wordpress.com/2022/08/05/to-change-the-culture-ii-speaking-out/

Recklessness does the cause no favors.  Neither of course does a timidity which renders us completely invisible.  It would seem that what is needed is to be as outspoken as one can get away with.  This is a difficult trick, since what one cn get away with is constantly changing (and not in the direction we would like).

Furthermore, there is a matter which may not register to the ideological mind, but is a matter of honor which those of conservative disposition will appreciate.  Those academic departments which are happily apolitical are maintained as such by an implicit truce of the faculty, and it is not gentlemanly to be the one who breaks the truce, especially when the liberal side, being the more powerful, should be credited with more forbearance for having honored it.  If it’s the administration and not the faculty or students who have broken the truce, our outspokenness-to-the-extent-we-can-get-away-with-it should be directed toward the guilty parties, again, to the extent we can get away with it.

Back to being as outspoken as we can get away with. There is strength in numbers, but unfortunately the only way to aggregate a large (>100) number of us is to organize on a national scale. Perhaps there are petitions we should all sign and organizations we should all join; I intend to look into this. (Your comments are appreciated.) On the other hand, perhaps the most good one can do is for a small group at one’s own institution, not making any grand plans but just providing support and encouragement to each other, easing the terrible sense of isolation.  Unfortunately, even attempting to find one’s fellow conservatives (presuming they exist) is risky.

17 thoughts on “Notes from academia IV: what should we do?

  1. Sir Thomas More:
    God made the angels to show Him splendor, as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But Man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind. If He suffers us to come to such a case that there is no escaping, then we may stand to our tackle as best we can, and, yes, Meg, then we can clamor like champions, if we have the spittle for it. But it’s God’s part, not our own, to bring ourselves to such a pass. Our natural business lies in escaping.

    I think an organization with a membership list means death. Better to operate through social subversion—convert your friends, trick would-be enemies, etc.

    If there’s an organization then you get the Racist Paramilitary Christian Nationalist treatment ™. I can see the headline now: “beloved professor Bonald has been fired without severance today after it emerged that he founded and coordinated operations of a secret Catholic Paramilitary organization. The FBI has secured the rolls in a raid on his home and will be publishing the list shortly.”

  2. I didn’t intend to end up as a martyr. I thought the grasp of Leftism was not that strong, being in a Third World country. I guess I was a fool. Still unemployed. Be prudent, gentlemen.

    However, know that silence will not always be an option. They will demand enthusiast approval from you. But this won’t be tomorrow. You have time to plan alternatives while you practice prudence.

    • Sorry to hear you are still at loose ends. You’re right that silence is no security in the end. Here in the states they already have the slogan, “silence is violence.” As you learned to your sorrow, they can also get you in a corner where you have to say something.

      • All very true, and none of us knows how long he has. imnobody00’s case is a very good example of how “what you can get away with” and even “what you’ll never be forced to consent to” is shifting more quickly than even the pessimistic among us had imagined.

        I’ve decided to assume that I have a few years to prepare. This somehow feels realistic. Also, it’s long enough to make it worthwhile for me to engage a multi-year skill-building program but short enough to know I shouldn’t be complacent and put it off.

        I’ll propose this as a mental exercise for all conservative academics. Imagine you will lose your job in three years and henceforth be barred from employment in the university system. What should you be doing now?

  3. I wish I had something useful to contribute…I’m just a lone, 59 year old homemaker, whose ‘world’ has contracted to the point that my husband and daughter are pretty much my only ‘contacts’…
    But I did have a thought regarding “strength in numbers” – don’t forget that there are also (or I should hope, at least) all the people who never really identified as “Liberal” or “Conservative”…
    My family are registered “Independents” voting-wise, as had many of the people in our community.
    Unfortunately, the propaganda/brainwashing by the “Liberals” has been highly effective, due to mainstream and social media…
    Even in my own home, I have had to fight a hard (precariously) won battle to open my husband’s eyes to the ‘real truths’ of Covid, Vaccines, Ukraine, & the onrushing totalitarian future (and I swear, every time he gets in the car & listens to NPR, I have to ‘deprogram’ him all over again).
    My point is that if the “Independents” like me can ‘open the eyes’ of one person, who then reaches out to their contacts (sending them irrefutable ‘eye-opening’ research/news sources), then maybe that could help increase the “numbers”?
    But then again, even at times my husband has been freshly deprogrammed, he has no interest in ‘initiating’ his friends & family into the ‘truth’ of it all, so I don’t know…
    Frankly, maybe all we can really do about any of it, is seriously pray for God’s intervention?

  4. A couple of years ago, I got a call from a man who said he was a former student concerned about political correctness at this university. He said he was retired, reasonably affluent, and speaking for a club of former students, similarly situated, who wanted to “do something.” We spoke over the phone a few times and exchanged some emails. My suggestion was formation of a conservative faculty network that would meet monthly for mutual encouragement and exchange of information. The man then disappeared and I haven’t heard from him since. I sometimes wonder if he was a spy baiting me into saying or writing something extreme. This was a few months after my Title 9 ordeal. As it happens, I do not harbor depths of crimethink deeper than those I express publicly here, so I can’t really be drawn into grosser blasphemies against some PC god. Still, I would caution right wing academics against unbosoming themselves too quickly before a seemingly sympathetic stranger. Since I’m out of the conservative closet, conservative students sometimes come and talk to me about some goofiness in their classes. I try to help these students but am also on guard against moles and informers. Loneliness loosens the tongue, and a conservative academic is pretty lonely. We need to recognize this vulnerability.

  5. I too know my time is limited. It mostly fills me with sadness more than anxiety or worry. I really do love my job. But I have also fewer mouths to feed and souls to corral than most commenting here, so maybe in that sense I’m lucky. I’ve decided to spend my remaining time mentally preparing for the chop. I’m not trying to be overly dramatic or make a direct comparison here, but the conduct and bravery and relative indifference of the martyrs was powerful. I’m trying to spend my remaining time preparing to be similarly indifferent and frank when I get called into the principal’s office for the last time.

  6. So, I work for a big company… it has all the “harrassment training” and “diversity & inclusion” you would expect. I got brought up on (internal) charges a few years ago because of a situation with a tranny. They make us sign all sorts of paperwork like their “code of conduct” (loyalty oath) and the harrassment training certification.
    However, I am VERY lucky. The certification I am required to make is that I *understand* the CoC/training, and understand that there will be consequences for violating it.
    Yassuh, massah. 100%. I *totally* understand that there will be *consequences* for failing uphold the Big Lie. Signed, sealed, and delivered!
    Reminds me of God’s mercy. And like another man of culture above, it reminds me of one of my favorite movies and favorite saints… “If I can take this oath, Meg, I intend to. This is not the stuff martyrs are made of.”

  7. Sometimes events organized by campus wokerati can actually bring you into contact with like-minded individuals, as I discovered following the mandatory microaggression “workshop” where I teach (most such “workshops” here are organized by administrators hungry for an audience for their moral preening). We were asked for our reactions to the content of the meeting, and I responded candidly that I found it insufferably patronizing, and that even according to its own definition, the word “microaggression” could be considered microaggressive in most of its applications. I was subjected to the predictable barrage of woke-scolding, but was pleasantly surprised that several people came to my defense. But I’m close enough to retirement that I can take such risks. I realize that it could be more problematic for junior faculty. In fairness, I should mention that some of my feminist and leftist colleagues have been kind to me over the years in spite of our differences, and I hope they have the same impression of me.

  8. Can’t you basically form coalitions? If something needs to be said, have it said by a black conservative Christian woman, and then just say “I am with her”. If your shield cannot be fired, you cannot be fired.

    Call it the Prisca strategy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisca_(empress) Christians in Diocletian’s prisons could not be executed because they all said “the emperor’s wife is a Christian, start with her”. (So they forced her to convert.)

    Also, Rod Dreher is living in Hungary now, just saying :))) I am sure there are some good open academic positions in Poland, too.

  9. Thoughts. If you tell them you are a Republican, they get mad at you. If you tell them you are a monarchist in agreement with de Maistre, they laugh and pat your back, “okay, okay, good joke”. That position is simply not only not a danger to them, but so far off the visible spectrum for them, they don’t even understand what you are talking about. They only see those to the immediate right of them.

    My point is, as they keep competing with each other getting ever lefter and ever, pushing the Overton Window lefter, the same thing might happen on other issues.

    There is inside the Overton Window, and then outside the Overton Window, and then there is so far outside the Overton Window that they don’t understand a word of is so they don’t care.

    • This makes a good point.

      “That position is simply not only not a danger to them, but so far off the visible spectrum for them, they don’t even understand what you are talking about.”

      If reactionary’s of all stripes were to form a coalition, what for?

      No one wants to take over the apparatus of government–that would make us liberals, and that is exactly what everyone here is objecting to. Is the coalition/organization/mutual defense pact designed to improve the political prospects of reactionaries? No–politics just is the problem. Is it to improve the social status of reactionaries? No–to be reactionary just is to already not care about being socially popular, it would amount to a PR campaign which is not useful. Is it to convince other people that we mean business or make sense or have a coherent ideology? No–that’s still a political game. Is it to avoid persecution? No–organizing makes us more visible for persecution in a “tall grass gets the blade” sense.

      It is far more productive as reactionaries, in my view, to lay low and simply live differently. The goal should not be to win in the short term, but to survive for the next 10, 100, 1000 years. What do we have to do to ensure our value system survives and grows over those periods? That should be the aim. Political winds come and go, but the 1,000 year destiny relies on values and ideals.

      • Reactionaries may not care about being popular, but they don’t enjoy the feeling of complete isolation. That is the main thing such groupings would attempt to ameliorate. The memberships of such groups would be secret.

        Signing a public petition or manifesto would, of course, be public. This is undoubtedly dangerous, since the only hope to avoid retaliation is to have a large enough collection of signatures to make retaliation impractical, and one never knows how many signatures will come after one’s own. I would recommend such statements be practical, hopefully gaining support from some old-style liberals and mainstream conservatives, of the nature of supporting academic freedom, institutional neutrality, rights of white or Christian students against institutionalized abuse, and due process protections for those accused of harassment or sexual impropriety. Such statements must provide reasons which are acceptable to all signing parties, i.e. not proposing an exclusively reactionary rationale but not repudiating the reactionary rationale either (and explicitly saying that the reactionary’s concerns should not be dismissed out of hand).

      • I have consciously worked to arrive at a place where my daily experience is not at all diverse. It took a while, but I did it.

        First, acquire a competitive skillset and become a subject-matter expert in it. Something not very glamorous and not too well compensated is perfect. I labored 30 years in my field before I could dictate my terms but in retrospect I could have done it ten years earlier.

        Second, move to the Red area of a Red State and make it even Redder. COVID and remote work gave this part of my plan a big boost.

        I’m doing fine and not isolated at all.

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